On October 24, 2014, I wrote the first blog in the “If My People” series. The goal was to go through the Old Testament, applying a pattern first observed in Genesis chapters 1 through 4 and repeating itself many times throughout the Bible.
The first five elements of the pattern are:
- God unifies.
- God commands.
- Satan tempts.
- We disobey.
- God warns.
- God judges.
- We are in disunity from God – at a dead end.
- We repent.
- God’s never-ending love pours down on us.
- God forgives and restores us to perfect unity with God.
“’I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they may also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.’” John 17:20-23 (ESV)
The title of the series came from God’s own passionate desire that his children, who are given free will to decide for themselves, will choose the better fork in the road:
“’If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.’” 2 Chronicles 7:14 (ESV)
So the road of life is not just a straight line to disunity or unity, depending on one decision at the fork in the road. This is why I called it the Cycle of Perfect Unity. It is a life-long process. Do we improve?
Five hundred blogs later, we have arrived at the top of a mountain. We have navigated Old Testament narrative history; the soaring poetry of the Psalms and the Prophets; the four Gospels of Jesus, including his own commandments; New Testament narrative history in the Book of Acts; and the first five chapters of Paul’s letter to the Roman Christians, pointing to the grace of God.
Like the explorers Lewis and Clark, the view from the top is not quite what we expected. Unlike Lewis and Clark, our expedition is not ruined. Rather, we can see clearly from this point on that our quest for perfect unity is achievable from here!
But our destination is still far off. We still have a long journey from Romans 6 to Revelation 21.
Beginning with Romans 6:1, there is a major change from history, prophecy, and theology to a focus on the behaviors of perfect unity and disunity from God.
“If” was uncertain. “How” is a commitment through grace.
The Epistles clearly define the fork in the road to perfect unity and the behaviors that will get us to that destination visible from the top of the mountain. That destination is revealed in the Book of Revelation.
Either we heed the warnings and repent, or we brush off the warnings and incur the judgment of God, sooner or later. A growing, thriving Christian church will be wise to practice the behaviors that will reign in perfect unity.
Hurry back for Romans 6!
Our journey down the mountain to Jerusalem will help us see How Grace Shall Reign!